Category Archives: Tech

Faceless Opinions

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Do you ever get the feeling that your friends aren’t telling you the truth? Do you consistently chastise your significant other for their vacuous responses to existential questions such as, “do you like my new haircut?” Do the opinions of others affect your sense of self? Does this type of acute paranoia have a detrimental effect on your ability to maintain relationships with family and friends?

Kander is a new app, released last month, fashioned as a mix between Instagram and Tinder, wherein users receive anonymous votes on their photos from their followers or the public. The interface allows two options for voting: either a single photo is posted (LoneShots), which users then swipe right to like or left to dislike; or, two photos are aligned together vertically (DuelPics), giving voters an either-or choice. Comments can also be posted anonymously until a given expiration time when usernames are then made public.

“My vision for Kander is to create a social media platform that allows users to get honest opinions from friends in a fun and engaging manner,” writes CEO, co-founder and creator Anthony Alcazar.

This anonymous voting interface differentiates Kander from other social media. Twitter and Facebook have likes, Tinder has matches, and Tumblr has reblogs—information that, while virtual, is still tied to the real-life you. Kander, however, offers faceless interaction—an ability to tell your friends what you really think. This approach raises a few questions. Does a lack of anonymity vitiate our ability to be honest? And, more importantly, what are the effects of rooting self-confidence in the opinions of others?

A 2006 study, published by CyberPsychology & Behavior, found that adolescents ages 10 to 19 who received positive feedback on a Dutch friend-networking site displayed increased social self-esteem and well-being; conversely, those who received negative feedback displayed the opposite effects. While this information may seem patently obvious, it illustrates that, for some, internet feedback has a symbiotic relationship with real-life well-being.

The ability for people to communicate anonymously on the internet is certainly not new. Tumblr allows for users to anonymously communicate, while numerous websites from Yelp to Amazon utilize commenting platforms wherein users can voice their opinions under the faceless guise of anonymity.

The launch of Kander signifies another step in this direction for social media users. The company’s assertion that the app will “capture the opinions of those who matter most to you,” takes a certain premise for granted: that without anonymity, we are unable to be honest with each other. For some, this may be a frightening prospect, a prospect that the potential future success of Kander may vindicate.

SpaceX launches DSCOVR Satellite

Falcon 9 carrying DSCOVR, Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

 

After two delays caused by weather, SpaceX launched the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite yesterday to beam back information about potentially harmful solar ejections heading toward earth.

With new instrumentation and quicker response times, the $340 million DSCOVR satellite will replace NASA’s old Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), which was launched in 1997. Both are designed to alert and study solar eruptions that can be destructive here on earth.

Courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
DSCOVR imaging capabilities, Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

“These geomagnetic storms can be very damaging to critical infrastructure on earth such as power grids, aviation communication systems, and satellites in orbit,” said Tom Gerber, the director of NOAA’S Space Weather Prediction Office, in the DSCOVR mission video.

DSCOVR will reach it’s observation post in 110 days: Lagrange Point One, staying in orbit between the gravitational equilibrium of the earth and sun. This Lagrange Point, of which there are five, is nearly 940,000 miles from earth, or four times the distance the moon is from earth.

Courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
DSCOVR during diagnostics, Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Although the satellite launch was successful, SpaceX could not recover the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket for reuse. Inclement weather in the Atlantic halted the ability of its drone ship to provide an adequate landing pad.

“Unfortunately we will not be able to attempt to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9,” the post-launch report said. “The drone ship is designed to operate in all but the most serious weather… We are experiencing just such weather in the Atlantic.”

This is SpaceX’s first deep-space launch, and overall, a successful one in the eyes of the company’s founder, Elon Musk.

“Primary mission on target,” Musk tweeted after the launch. “Spacecraft headed towards the sun! All good there.”

Facebooking from the Grave

Facebook is our home away from home, a place where we escape our class lectures and focus on more important things, such as cyber-stalking our ex-boyfriends and seeing if we’re doing better than them. Facebook has over 1.23 billion monthly active users and it makes you wonder, when a user dies what happens to his or her Facebook account?

Well, it used to be when Facebook found out that someone had died, they would freeze the account making it impossible for friends and relatives to see or use it again. Today, Facebook has changed its ways and allows users to designate another “legacy” user for when you die, because you know when you’re dead someone still needs to update your status.

Facebook announced today a legacy contact that will allow someone else to update statuses, post pictures and accept friend requests on your profile. The legacy contact, however, cannot delete anything off the Facebook page and also cannot access private messages, so don’t worry — some things you do get to take to the grave.

The new legacy feature on Facebook. Photo by: Tami Benedict/ Xpress Magazine
Here is a look at Facebook’s new legacy feature, via a screenshot taken by Tami Benedict.

To create a legacy contact, all you need to do is go to Settings > Security > Legacy Contact. You can choose only one legacy contact and this contact cannot pass the duty onto someone else, so make sure you choose the right person. Once you name a legacy contact, Facebook will send him or her an email explaining the role, but maybe you want to talk to the person before that email is actually sent.

Now some may wonder how Facebook knows we are actually dead. It’s easy actually. All one needs to do is fill out a form on Facebook letting them know who died and when and then adding a link to an obituary or some other proof of death. This lets the admins at Facebook review the obit and grant access to the legacy contact.

Hooray for our Facebook pages outliving us! Nothing is more important than that status update: #imdeadbutmyhomiegotsme

Smartphone case lets you print photos

Photo courtesy of Prynt

Remember the good ol’ days when you got excited for a photo to develop? And then after three minutes of patiently waiting, you found out you had the perfect smile but your eyes were closed? Yeah, I miss the fun that came with instant photos too.

Polaroid discontinued film in 2008, and ever since then instant film photography has become this hipster trend. There are apps like Instant and Polamatic, which add white polaroid-like frames and filters to your photos. Cameras like Fuji Film’s Insta Max 8 and 210, have become a popular accessory for tweens and hipsters. But I don’t blame them. There’s just something genuinely special about instant film and holding something tangible. So I was intrigued when I heard about Prynt, a phone case that turns your smartphone into a modern Polaroid camera.

Prynt lets you print photos straight from your phone. Just attach the case to your iPhone or Android device and take a photo using the app. Within 30 seconds an image emerges from the case. You can even print photos from your camera album, Instagram and Facebook.

Like a Polaroid, the case comes with 10 “rolls” of photo paper, and you can restock on the digital film through the app. It’s powered by a battery and works offline.

In 2011, graphic designer Mac Funamizu came up with a similar concept called The Sophie. But unlike Funamizu’s product, Prynt has this augmented-reality feature. Each time you take a photo, the app records a short video. When you hold your phone over the printed image, your photo comes to life.

There are some downsides to this gadget though. The case is too bulky. So it probably won’t fit in your pocket. As of now, it’s only available for the iPhone 5 and 6 and the Galaxy S4 and S5.

According to the Kickstarter campaign, the product is currently under development. It’s expected to be released this summer for $99.

 Video courtesy of Prynt

 

 

 

 

Club Nintendo announces new rewards before service closes

Mourning the loss of Club Nintendo, with exclusive items from the program on display. Photo/Graphic by Caty McCarthy.

Club Nintendo is a U.S.-based rewards program by gaming giant Nintendo, offering digital and physical prizes in exchange for coins earned from registering first-party Nintendo games and filling out surveys. After its seven years of service, Club Nintendo is coming to an end on June 30, 2015, but not without some final prizes to offer members.

I’ve been a member of the joyous rewards program for as long as I can remember (I cannot recall anything in my life prior to 2008, apparently). I’ve redeemed prizes, hoarded coins, shaken my fist at the screen when I didn’t have enough for that rare gold nunchuk, used my Club Nintendo-exclusive Pikmin tote bag whenever a situation required it, for like, shopping and stuff. There were various instances where before purchasing a game I asked, “But can I register this game on Club Nintendo???” I even got the delightful invitation to attend the Wii U Experience at Fort Mason for being a Club Nintendo member, where myself and friends were able to play the Wii U before anyone else. We drank blue-tinted Jones soda and ate cookies that said #WiiU, and posed with Nintendo-related props for pictures. I love Club Nintendo and all it has to offer, and that’s why when Nintendo announced its closure a fortnight ago I got really sad.

On February 2, however, President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aimé parted the figurative clouds of Club Nintendo, revealing a staggering slew of new rewards. It’s their way of saying “spend your coins or you’ll regret it.” A host of 117 games total, including Earthbound, Super Metroid, Game & Wario, Super Mario 3D Land, and The Wonderful 101, and 13 new physical rewards are now available to Club Nintendo members. Among the most enticing of the physical rewards include exclusive posters, a classy 2016 calendar, adorable pastel-hued Animal Crossing playing cards, a Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask messenger bag, and even a Majora’s Mask jigsaw puzzle.

The final day to register games for coins is March 31, and the last day to redeem coins for rewards is June 30. On July 1, Club Nintendo will shut down for good to be eventually replaced by an as-of-yet unannounced new rewards program by Nintendo.

Alas, Club Nintendo is nearly dead and buried, and what a sad thing that is. But at least they’re going out with a bang.

Apps to get you moving in the morning

Photo under  Creative Commons by Steven Lilley
Photo under Creative Commons by Steven Lilley

With summer officially over, fun late nights turn into study sessions and mornings become a challenge of how many times you can successfully hit the snooze button before being late.

The bad habit of hitting the snooze button can get some of us in trouble though, causing us to be late for whatever we originally set the alarm for in the first place. So what can we do to become more of a morning person and less of a late person?

There is an easy solution for that or a better way of saying it, there is an app for that. Companies are now creating apps that literally force you to put some work into turning your alarm off, virtually making it impossible to go back to sleep after the task is completed, honestly if you can go back to sleep after these, please YouTube it.

iPhone:

BetterMe

 

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Better Me is a free app that publicly shames you every time you hit the snooze button by posting a status to your Facebook saying you were too weak to get up. So if you don’t want to look like a weak, lazy person, the goal is to not hit the snooze.

Walk Up is an alarm that makes you literally get out of bed and walk a certain number of steps before the alarm will shut off. The worse part about this app is the alarm, which is a screaming male or female voice. You can program the app with how many steps you want to take and cost ninety-nine cents. This app is also available for Android but it is called Walk Me Up!.

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FreakyAlarm is the evil of all evil alarm clock apps. This baby has 30 different alarms that can go off and the snooze button will not work. The only way to turn your alarm off is to do a series of tasks which  include solving math, taking pictures of items around your house or scanning barcodes. It costs one dollar and ninety-nine cents in the app store.

Android

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Morning Routine which is also free, is even worse. In order to get your alarm to turn off you must walk around your house and scan the bar codes of items that are incorporated into your morning routine, like your toothpaste. Another app similar to Morning Routine is Alarmy also known as Sleep If You Can which is essentially the same except you take pictures instead of scanning a bar code. Yes, go ahead and selfie with your milk carton.

Alarm Clock Xtreme makes you do basic math questions and gets that brain working before the alarm will turn off. You can program the app yourself by designing how many math problems you want to complete and the difficulty of the math problem. This app would never work for me, I fail at math and would destroy my phone trying to turn the alarm off.

Alarm Clock Plus is the same thing as FreakAlarm but for the Android. It has a combination of task you much complete before your alarm will shut off. It has a cool nap feature on it, and who doesn’t like awesome naps but also can be displayed as a normal beside clock.

These apps would definitely help me wake up and in the morning and never be late to a class again. What about you? Would you consider using one of these apps to prevent being late?

Still Sort of Gr8 – iOS8 Impressions

Disclaimer: This was tested using a 64 gigabyte iPhone 5.

iOS7 was a drastic step up from iOS6. Apple finally hit their stride by streamlining what they had, borrowing from Android, and making it look a whole hell of a lot slicker. It has been a year since iOS7 was pushed on us and I still have not grown weary of its look or functionality.

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With that praise comes almost a preemptive strike against iOS8, the newest iteration on Apple’s operating system for (most of its) phones and tablets. iOS8 offers a few new features – ones that improve the experience – but it is not anything radically different or any sort of game changer.

My most anticipated feature was the way in which you could respond to notifications. Switching apps to answer a text was not the most convenient way to get things done. Now you can respond directly through the notification bar, which eliminates a step and works pretty well. Sometimes the small buttons are easy to accidentally press, but it is a tiny nitpick nestled within a great addition.

The actual keyboard that you type with has a “new” suggestion box, one that Android has had for ages. It can be useful at times, but you can push it down if you feel like it is cramping your style… or the literal space on your keyboard. This feature was seemingly made for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus since it takes up a bit of space that the iPhone 5 was not really designed for. Because of this, it is easy to accidentally keep pressing in different phrases when you mean to send your message. Luckily, it can be pulled down to give more room to the rest of the keyboard, which is something I feel most iPhone veterans will do. Most of the time anyway; some apps have yet to adopt some of these new features (like Facebook Messenger).

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Other than that, iOS8 is just sort of… there. Neat additions like seeing which apps drain the most battery, double-tapping the home button to see recent contacts, and exiting a group text are welcome, incremental improvements, but nothing really matches what Apple has done in the past. That is mostly a backhanded compliment since it took them so long to finally catch up with competition. But now they are at the finish line with nothing to really rally around, except their new lame fitness app.

But it is a free update, one that does not impede current users nor does it make the entire experience worse. iOS has finally reached a point where most of the big issues have been addressed which allows them to rest on their laurels as much as it should encourage them to step up and really innovate. But for now, we should just complain about our free U2 album, because that is the real tragedy here.

Twist of Fate – Destiny Review

Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Release Date: September 9, 2014

Destiny is the child spun out of divorce.

After splitting from Microsoft in 2007 and subsequently the Halo franchise, developer Bungie has executed a vision of the next generation of shooters that feels like it was thought up before the technology could support it. Destiny is the first part of a ten-year vision, merging the MMO (massively multiplayer online) mission structure with a first-person shooter. Hype and developer pedigree has carried this game since its unveiling, but only its pure quality can propel it past its release. Unfortunately, Destiny falls into the trap of many ambitious new franchises by failing to move pasts its good ideas and solid foundation.

Continue reading Twist of Fate – Destiny Review

Top Five iOS 8 Features

iOS8
Photo courtesy of Apple

Written by Michael Leri
Apple has conditioned us every year to not only anticipate and salivate over a new phone, but a new operating system as well. iOS8 marks yet another chapter in the long list of yearly improvements that Apple has promised its faithful user base, all of which range from “meh” to “I need that now.”

5. Apple Pay

Ignore Google Wallet. That never happened. Apple leads in innovation so we’re all going to talk about the new thing from Apple: Apple Pay. Your wallet may be a thing of the past… except the fact that you’ll need your driver’s license, your dollar bills, your gift cards that your mom always buys you, and the condoms that you’ll sadly see expire. Coming in October in the United States, iOS8 users will be able to pay in various places like Subway, Starbucks, Panera, and more with their Apple Pay account. It comes at such a time where our trust in Apple’s security are at an all-time high.

4. Health

I don’t really exercise; I’m just planning to cruise through my life on a fast metabolism and a healthy supply of carrots. However, Apple’s new focus on health and fitness might intrigue the athletically inclined. This new app tracks all aspects of your life for a more detailed look on what you’ve been doing. Your sleep schedule, exercise regimen, and dietary habits are all stored on this device along with your heart rate, blood sugar, amount of burned calories, and cholesterol levels. All of this information being in one place in the supercomputer in your pocket lets you chronicle your health in an easy-to-read way, making it simple to see when you’ve hit rock bottom.

3. Connectivity

We all know how impenetrable iCloud is. It’s like a digital Fort Knox that’s situated on Alcatraz that just so happens to be on Mars. It’s impossible to crack and steal pictures from and leak them all over Reddit. That same wonderful security is now available on your iPad as well as your iPhone. You’ll never be without those pictures of that one time Stacey got drunk and arrested thanks to iCloud’s new ability to share your photos across your devices. Searching has also been improved, along with editing, making the whole approach more streamlined and user-friendly. Now your totally-safe nudes will at least look nicer.

2. Smart keyboard

I ducking hate the autocorrect on the iPhone keyboard sometimes. It just doesn’t know me like it should. Apple knows this, hence the overhaul given to the keyboard, called QuickType. Whether its your boss, your wife, or your mistress, the device will know what kind of language to use, be it formal or informal.

That may change how you type, but it doesn’t change what you type. That’s what the predictive text is for. Like Android, a few recommended words will pop up above the keys, giving you a selection of different ways to express your apathy. Apple is also giving third parties access to the keyboards, opening up the possibilities of how you can type. So now you can blame autocorrect less and less for you mistakes.

1. Responding to notifications

The biggest (and most important) addition is the way in which you can respond to notifications. Rather than slugglishly switching from app to app to answer messages or read emails, you can answer a text, accept an invitation, or mark an email as read without leaving your session of Threes. Streamlining notifications and switching apps less makes the whole experience smoother and more seamless. It makes the whole OS a single experience rather than a segmented collection of apps and data.

iOS8 is set to be released on September 17th for every phone from the iPhone 4S forward, the 5th generation iPod Touch, and every iPad from the iPad 2 on. If only they would change the real atrocity: the ability to turn off when my battery hits 20%.

Stretch Out The Stress

Photo by Giuseppe Savo / Flickr
Photo by Giuseppe Savo / Flickr

Written by Thomas Figg-Hoblyn
Photos by Ryan Leibrich

It’s that time of the semester again Gators –research papers, essays, finals – cramming.

But it’s time to consider the damage done to one’s body from cramming for hours on end, banging away on a keyboard, jacked on caffeine, hunched over a laptop or PC like a starving man over a bowl of soup.

Slouching, twisting, and folding painfully as one pimps out the body for that grade – sacrificing health. It doesn’t have to be that way though.

Step back from the computer, take a deep breath and give your health a boost by taking a stretch break.

Taking breaks and stretching on cue, to the guidance of a software program is now a viable option for SF State students thanks to the effort of Erik Peper Ph.D., professor and co-founder of SF State’s Institute of Holistic Health Studies.

rik Peper, Professor of Holistic Health at SF State. Photo Ryan Leibrich / Xpress
Erik Peper, Professor of Holistic Health at SF State. Photo Ryan Leibrich / Xpress

Peper, a smiling Dutchman with a keen sense of humor and a penchant for healing, is an internationally recognized biofeedback expert and successful author. His list of articles, books, projects, and innovations in healing reads like an unedited Jack Kerouac novel.

Peper has made Stretch Break Pro, an ergonomic software program that helps reduce stress, increase productivity and prevent computer related injuries by gently reminding the user to take periodic stretch breaks while using the computer, available to the SF State community. The program also provides healthy computing tips and suggests specific stretches, with written and visual directions for their performance.

While working with the software’s distributor Para Technologies, Peper swayed them to give SF State access to the program.

“It’s about a $140,000 donation,” Peper says.

The campus community is invited to download and use the computer program Stretch Break Pro at no cost.

That’s right folks – increase productivity, and pamper your body, for FREE! Peper invites all students, faculty and staff to download the software  and install it on their work and home computers.

According to Peper, taking frequent breaks and remaining active while working is another vital component of computing health. “Taking many breaks really reduces exhaustion and illness,” Peper says. “People who take many breaks have much fewer symptoms.”

Taking frequent breaks from work may seem counterintuitive, but according to Peper, your productivity doesn’t go down, it goes slightly up.

Stretch Break Pro runs in the background, prompting the user to take breaks at chosen intervals. Once the “Time to Stretch!” reminder appears on the screen, the user can click through to hear relaxing music and see an animated demonstration of a stretch or series of stretches to perform.

After noting the effectiveness of Stretch Break Pro in research studies, Peper  made arrangements with Para Technologies to donate a license of the software to SF State.

Para Technologies President Arthur Saltzman said the donation was the result of collaboration with Peper on the latest version of Stretch Break. “He gave permission to incorporate his Healthy Computing Email Tips into the program and I agreed to donate a license to SF State,” he says.

So go ahead and get back to your cramming. Get jacked on energy drinks, coffee, tea – or whatever your flavor is and get cracking. But, download Stretch Break Pro, and get better results, and take those stretches and breaks so you don’t injure yourself.

“When you actually do it, I can promise you an improvement in energy by the end of the day,” Peper says.

It might not be as fun as the seventh-inning stretch at the ball game, or the Chicken Dance, but hey, one never knows.

To download Stretch Break Pro, visit http://tech.sfsu.edu/guides/stretch-break-pro and follow the directions.

Windows users can download Stretch Break at bit.ly/sbSFSUwin

Mac users can get their copy from bit.ly/sbSFSUmac

For both versions, the user name is “bringit” and the password is “home63″.

Is Apple just phoning it in?

iPhone 5s
Josh Rufino was the first to get the new iPhone 5s at Stonestown Galleria after waiting for almost 24 hours. Photo by Justice Boles.

The newest iPhones could be the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end.

It’s 12:30 a.m. at night outside of Stonestown Galleria. There’s a line of people lined up against the wall bundled in warm jackets and blankets. It’s the coldest part of town, and it feels like it. Josh Rufino is first in line. He’s been waiting since 9:45 for the new iPhone. 9:45 a.m.“I’m getting it because I have an Android right now and it’s really old, so why not get an upgrade?” says Rufino. He wants the golden iPhone. It’s what most of the people in line want. Others describe it as “elegant” and “premium.” There’s only so many available from the start, and right now they’re selling like hotcakes. “I’m just looking for a newer phone,” says Rufino.

The newest iteration of iPhones was released last month, the 5s has a personalized fingerprint scanner and boasts twice the speed in shiny metallic coating, while the 5c is available in a plethora of plastic pastels, a sign many have taken as Apple’s desire to break into the burgeoning smartphone foreign market that Android already has a healthy grasp on. That means one of two things. These phones signify Apple climbing back to the top of the technologic food chain, or telegraph the fall of a mighty tech giant.

It’s difficult to imagine Apple falling out of God’s Grace anytime soon. After all, it is the biggest name in the tech industry. However, it was less than two decades ago that they were filing for bankruptcy and needed a bailout… from Microsoft.

However, under the leadership of Steve Jobs, Apple was able to turn itself around, beginning with the release of the iMac, the first i. These computers were hip and new, instead of offering a dull beige box to type letters into, Apple offered a line of multi-colored computers to alleviate the monotony brought upon by Bill Gates and Microsoft.

Now, in 2013, with the latest line of iPhones, instead of offering a dull black box to type letters into, Apple offers a line of multi-colored smartphones to alleviate the monotony brought upon by Steve Jobs and Macintosh.

It’s possible they’ve hit a dead end.

Recently, Apple has been likened to Polaroid by Slate’s Christopher Bonanos. Polaroid was on top of the world way back when everyone relied on film and physical photographs as a means of capturing everyday life, but has fallen on hard times in the world of Instagram and digital photography.

Continue reading Is Apple just phoning it in?

New concerns over cell phone radiation

Cell Phone Graphic
Written by Thomas Figg-Hoblyn
Photo by Ryan Leibrich

Recently I brought up the idea of writing a story about the dangers of using a cell phone because of radiation to some of my colleagues on staff, and immediately someone interjected “I thought that got debunked years ago.”

And that was pretty much the end of it. I gave up on the idea – and forgot about it.

Two days later as I bounced up and down on a red and gray Muni seat riding the M Line, the subject of cell phones and health circled back to me in the form of a young boy, about four years old, who sat across the aisle from me completely captivated by his mother’s white iPhone.

The brown-haired kid was all up on the smartphone trying to move his slobber-covered index finger on the screen to the frantic pace of some colorful game.

He held that phone like a rainbow flavored snow cone on a hot day in Texas – his eyes bugging out in pure ecstasy as he played – all the time pressing that phone closer and closer to his face.

Then inexplicably, he licked the phone, and then kept right on playing.

It was then and there that I decided to find out if cell phones were really dangerous.

I felt an obligation.

If this kid was coveting his mom’s cell phone like a sugary-treat, then odds were that other kids were doing the same thing.

And according to the Pew Research Center, 91 percent of Americans use a cell phone.

SF State student Arthur Abelardo talks on his smart phone
SF State student Arthur Abelardo on his phone

I started digging around to see what I could find out.

A quick Google search using “are cell phones safe” and/or “are cell phones dangerous,” as well as almost anything related to cell phones and health (I used almost a dozen) turned up a sea of legitimate articles focused on radiation, cancer, and cell phones.

The more I read, the more creeped out I became – to the point that I moved my cell phone to the other side of the room.

My favorite companion and gadget suddenly had a sinister side.

Here are the highlights of the search.

The World Health Organization recently re-classified cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen similar to car exhaust.

A report titled “Cell Phones and Cancer Risk” produced by The National Cancer Institute states that cell phones emit radiation that can be absorbed into the tissues where the phone is held.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently opened an official inquiry regarding the safety of cell phone radiation emissions.

CBS Channel 58 of Minnesota reported in an article titled “New concerns over cell phone radiation” that even though for years scientists have insisted there was no connection between cell phones and cancer, now there were credible experts re-evaluating the position.

An attorney interviewed in the story says that some lawyers are currently pursuing class action suits, and that  brain tumors were being associated with extensive cell phone usage.

The Guardian reported in August that a new Tel Aviv University, Israel, study, that studied the saliva of heavy-cell phone users compared to non-cell phone users, found that the saliva of heavy-users showed indications of higher oxidative stress, a process that damages all aspects of a human cell, including DNA, through the development of toxic peroxide and free radicals – a major risk factor for cancer.

An international study published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Medicine states that adults who have used mobile phones intensively for at least ten years, experience an increase in brain cancer, salivary gland cancer, and even rare eye cancers; and some men diagnosed with testicular cancer had the cancer occur in the testicle that was closest to the pant pocket where they stashed their cell phone.

As reported in The Telegraph by Richard Alleyne, Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that a businessman’s tumor was caused by a causal link between his illness and cell phone use.

Inside Edition reported that  Tiffany Frantz, a 23-year-old who stashed her cell phone in her bra since she was a young-teen was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, which was attributed to cell phone radiation.

After scouring the web I decided to go see a local expert on health, Erik Peper, Ph.D., professor of holistic health at San Francisco State University.

Erik Peper, Professor of Holistic Health at SF State smiles next to his biofeedback computer program. The biofeedback machines can measure the effects of cell phone radiation on the body.
Erik Peper, Professor of Holistic Health at SF State smiles next to his biofeedback computer program. The biofeedback machines can measure the effects of cell phone radiation on the body.

“Dr. Peper” as I like to call him, referred me to his fact-filled blog called the Peper Perspective  , which goes granular on explaining the dangers of cell phone use.

Peper says that all cell phones emit radiation by definition because they connect to a local cell tower, and as long as a cell phone is being used for talking, texting or streaming data then it is talking with the cell tower and emitting radiation.

To demonstrate Peper placed a cell phone next to a student volunteer who was connected to a biofeedback machine. Right before the phone rings a significant spike registers on the computer in micro-volts showing the high-frequency cell signal going through the subject.

  Continue reading New concerns over cell phone radiation